Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe review Ghost in the Shell for Now Playing Reviews on The HMC.
Based on the Japanese anime, Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett Johansson as Major, first of her kind cyber enhanced human. It's the near future and there's a powerful new enemy killing people by hacking into their minds. Major and her District 9 police crew must hunt him down and stop him before he kills again. However, once face to face with this new cyber enemy, Major finds there's more to his story, and hers then she new. Will these revelations threaten her mission? Oh hell yeah.
Ghost in the Shell is a far cry from the thoughtful and clever vision created by Masamune Shirow and original anime film directed by Mamoru Oshii. This Americanized version is all action and no heart. It has some impressive visual effects and fans of science fiction may enjoy the futuristic production design but, Johansson's wooden and weak performance render this film almost unbearable to watch. Cyber punk and original Ghost in the Shell fans do yourself a favor and go watch the anime versions (this film was a melding of both anime films 1 & 2).
We are giving this film a 6 on the Justice and Doom Meter which is generous as this constitutes small Justice, very small. Consider the Justice rating a shoutout to the impressive supporting cast including the phenomenal Juliette Binoche as scientist Dr. Ouelet, Pilou Asbæk as Major's partner Batou (you'll recognize him as Theon Greyjoy's dastardly uncle in Game of Thrones), Michael Pitt and Takeshi Kitano. The stunning visual effects and production design equally deserve much Justice. Save those standout features, this film doesn't live up to its potential as a visionary classic in the realm of cyber punk.
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